Firefox users ignore ads, report says

Adtech discovered that IE users are four times more likely to click on an ad than firefox users.

Digg users debate this in the usual fashion, and most people say it’s because of Adblock. I installed Adblock, but found the defaults to be irritating: it blocks many non-ad pages. I turned it off for a while before figuring out how to tone it down. It’s really only the pop-under ads that I block.

I’m not really sure why people are so adverse to looking at ads to begin with. I’m sure most people have more self control than to feel that they need to buy whatever is being advertised everytime they see an ad. Sure, there are obnoxious ads. The “hit the chicken and win” ones are pretty bad. Ads that make you wait a few seconds before going to the real page are relics of the old TV advertising industry. Anything that causes another window to open is just rude (it’s like the equivalent of and employee coming up to you in a store and jamming flyers in your pockets).

I’ve found that being on the internet for so long has changed the way I read. My eyes filter out big different-looking elements of a page, and I often have a hard time seeings headlines or links if they’re in too big a font. It’s like my eyes just skip over them, and I sit there looking for something, all of a sudden going “Oh! there it is!” when I notice it’s in giant letters in the middle of the screen.

That said, I’ve also clicked on ads. I’ve even purchased things from ads I’ve clicked on. Usually from a Google search results page (the Ads are a great way to find companies that actually sell what you’re looking for, if you ignore the eBay, nexttag, etc ads that somehow show up when you search for specific manufacturers and model numbers, even if they don’t have/sell them). Targetting is key here, and is the reason why Google has done so well with ads. You’re much less likely to sell jewelery to someone looking at a page about music than you are to sell CDs.

So back to the digg story. Why are IE users more likely to click on ads? My guess would actually be that Firefox blocks popup ads by default, and there used to be (and probably still are) tons of pop-up ads that look like dialog boxes. Most users click the fake “ok” button.

In fact, this is exactly what the original article says. It also goes on to talk about the targetted ad thing. [In retrospect, I should have read it *before* writing all of this. Oh well.]

It would be much more useful to do a longer-term study, see stats of what kind of ads they’re clicking on, and see what percentage of users are actually buying something (though this can be difficult, as I’ll click on an ad, find a site, then come back later and buy it after researching a product more. When this happens, the adclick doesn’t get counted as a sale).

It’s kind of sad to see so many people with Adblock though. There are so many good ad-based services out there. If everyone used Adblock, Google and Yahoo would eventually die and we’d be left with that other search engine. Yeah, you know the one I mean. That can’t be a good thing.

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